Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Committee Room of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Thomas Sisul, Michael Gilbert, Sue McConnell; Village Manager Michael McCurdy; Village Attorney Daniel Blondin; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Susie Gura, Downers Grove Reporter Residents & Others in Attendance: Marilynn Gerloff, 4241 Highland Ave.; Martin Tully, 3678 Venard; Stephen Daniels, 840 Valley View Dr.; Scott Saef, Lynn Hanley, Sidley & Austin, 10 S. Dearborn; Judy Ellertson, Indian Boundary YMCA , 711 59th St.; Brad Hargett, James J. Benes & Assoc.; 1755 Park St., Naperville; Joe Bonfanti, Williams Architects, Wheaton; Dave Tatterson, 1240 Gilbert; Tom Julian, 6223 Springside; Ross Johnson, 1311 Gilbert; Dennis Paulson, Midwestern University, 555 31st St.; Patricia Terkovich, DuPage Senior Citizens Council Staff: Bob Porter, Pam Church, Downers Grove Police Dept.; Barb Leiber, Social & Health Services, 842 Curtiss; Ron Kring, Fleet Maintenance; Jerry Sprecher, Deputy Village Manager; Amanda Browne, Planner; Ken Rathje, Director of Planning Services; Mary Lyons, Director of Financial Services; Mike Baker, Asst. to the Village Manager; Bob Jungwirth, Engineer; Liangfu Wu, Director Information Services.
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Sewer Jetting. The Manager said this is an ongoing storm sewer, manhole and inlet cleaning program designed to prevent blockages from debris and silt from causing upstream flooding problems. The Village annually cleans approximately 75, 000 linear feet of storm sewer and 300-400 manholes and inlets. Staff recommends awarding the bid to Kenny Industrial Services as the low bidder in the amount of $28,350.00.
The Manager said this would be placed on next week’s Consent Agenda.
Vehicle Purchases. The Manager asked Deputy Manager Jerry Sprecher to address this matter.
Jerry Sprecher , Deputy Village Manager, said this is the first of at least two purchase requests to be presented to the Council within the next few weeks to buy vehicles from the current budget and the 2001-02 budget. He said he has been advised that the City of Chicago and the Gas Technology Institute have completed their agreement for the funding of compressed natural gas fueling stations.
Mr. Sprecher said this request is to buy various conventional vehicles, with a later recommendation to purchase CNG vehicles.
Mr. Sprecher then addressed regulatory considerations including the emissions ratings required by the Clean Air Act and the requirement for alternative-fuel vehicles as stipulated in the Energy Policy Act. He said the Village is required to comply with both of these regulations. Mr. Sprecher addressed cost considerations and incentives, and other considerations. He said there is an incentive to purchase flexible fuel vehicles, which can burn conventional gasoline or any mix of ethanol up to 85% ethanol, via a rebate program up to $800 per vehicle from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.
Mr. Sprecher then outlined the vehicles recommended to be purchased including six Ford Crown Victoria sedans for the Police Department, one Ford Ranger pickup for Building Services, and eight Ford Taurus sedans for Code Services, Fire Prevention and Police Investigations. He said that the small pickup and the Taurus sedans are flexible fuel vehicles, capable of running on alternative fuels.
Mr. Sprecher said staff is recommending the six Crown Victoria sedans from Madden Ford at a cost of $102,166 from the 2001/02 budget. He said staff is requesting approval of this purchase tonight due to a March 1 cut-off date for ordering them under the State’s purchasing contract. Staff is further recommending the purchase of eight Ford Taurus sedans from Terry’s Ford at a cost of $112,338.00 and one Ford Ranger pickup from Terry’s Ford at a cost of $12,280.00. They would be purchased from the 2000/01 budget. The Ford Taurus and pickup purchases would be placed on the March 6 Consent Agenda.
The Mayor asked about the March 1 deadline on the Crown Victorians from Madden Ford since they are not going through the State. Deputy Sprecher said that even though it is a local dealer they have to get the bid in through the State bid. He also mentioned that in terms of getting the appropriate specifications it is best to work with the deadline.
Mayor Krajewski asked about the trade-ins. He asked how many of the cars being purchased are new and how many are replacement vehicles. Deputy Manager Sprecher said that for Code Services there are four new vehicles. Fire Prevention is a replacement vehicle and they have also asked for a new vehicle for January of 2002.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the credits. Mr. Sprecher said he is still working on this. He said there are no definitive numbers on what the credits are worth. He said that if the Village exceeds the requirements of the Clean Air Act in a given year that can be banked as credits to be applied to future years or they can be marketed.
Commissioner Gilbert asked whether the four Code Services cars were budgeted and Deputy Sprecher said they were.
Commissioner Schnell moved to waive the one-week waiting period for new business. Commissioner Sisul seconded the Motion.
AYE :Commissioners Schnell, Sisul, McConnell, Gilbert, Mayor Krajewski NAY :None
Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion carried.
Commissioner Schnell moved to authorize the purchase of six Crown Victorias from Madden Ford at a cost of $102,166.00.
Commissioner Sisul seconded the Motion.
AYE :Commissioners Schnell, Sisul, McConnell, Gilbert, Mayor Krajewski NAY :None
Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion carried.
Manager McCurdy said the remainder of the vehicles would be placed on the March 6 Consent Agenda.
Lacey Creek. The Manager said this is for an application to the Five Star Restoration Challenge Grant Program under National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Village’s partners in this Grant application are the Orchardbrook Homeowners Association, DuPage County, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Conservation Fund. The total requested is $20,000 to be used to offset costs incurred with the Lacey Creek Project. He said the Resolution approving this application will be placed on next week’s Active Agenda.
Police Vehicle Laptops. The Manager said this grant is from the U.S. Department of Justice for the purchase of 30 laptop computers and software to be used in the Village’s squad cars. The total estimated amount of the project is $317,760, with a grant of $235,142 funded by this grant. The Village’s match would be $82,618. He indicated this is part of the larger project to upgrade the public safety system. These computers allow for reporting by the police officers in the field.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether these are fixed in the cars, and the Manager said they would be on a platform but can be removed.
Commissioner Sisul asked about the cost of $317,760 which equates to about $10,000 per unit. The Manager said that the attendant software is very high in cost.
Mr. Lyons said these are referred to as “ruggedized” laptop computers.
Bob Porter , Police Department, said that the actual laptop to be used has not yet been identified.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether the hardware is included in the price as well and Mr. Porter said it was.
The Manager said this would be placed on the March 6 Active Agenda.
Child Safety Seat Program. The Manager said this grant is through IDOT for the purchase of 600 car seats as part of the program to fit children from infants to four years of age.
The Mayor asked Mr. Lyons about $48,000 in the budget on this item, and Mr. Lyons said that there will be adjustments made to that figure including a breakdown of the actual seat costs, and salary costs included.
The Manager said this Resolution will be on the March 6 Active Agenda.
3. DuPage Senior Citizens Council Request. The Manager said the Council is requesting funds to assist toward the delivery of meals to seniors.
The Mayor asked Barb Leiber of the Village’s Department of Social & Health Services what was actually given to the Senior Citizens Council last year.
Barb Leiber , Director, Social & Health Services, said that last year they were given $21,858 and this year they are asking for a lesser amount. She said that a representative from the Council was present.
Patricia Terkovich , DuPage Senior Citizens Council, said the Council is responsible for the home delivered meals program known as “Meals on Wheels”, and they also offer a minor home repair program to senior citizens. She said that they have experienced a decline in a request for services. She indicated that seniors could contact the Council at 620-0804.
The Mayor asked that this be advertised on the Cable as well as in the Village Corner.
Manager McCurdy said this would be on the March 6 Active Agenda.
Stormwater & Flood Plain Oversight Committee – Duration & Revision to Permits. The Manager asked Bob Jungwirth to comment on this item.
Bob Jungwirth , Village Engineer, said this is to change the duration of stormwater permits from three years to one year. The Ordinance was first drafted with major projects in mind that would take several years. Most permits are issued in conjunction with building permits and the extended length of time is unnecessary. This would also encourage the applicant to complete their work before the expiration of the permit, and would eliminate repeated renewals of the permits.
Commissioner Schnell asked if this would allow the residents to get their bonds back. Mr. Jungwirth said when the work is complete the bond will be returned. This merely encourages people to move more quickly with their work.
Commissioner Sisul said there are still some big projects in the northwest area of the Village and he asked whether this would create any problems. Mr. Jungwirth said it would not as there is no problem extending the permits when needed.
Manager McCurdy said the Ordinance approving this change would be on the March 20 Active Agenda.
Extension of a Special Use for Phase II of Midwestern University. The Manager asked Mr. Rathje to make the next presentation.
Ken Rathje , Planning Services Director, said Midwestern University appeared before the Village in 1993-94 for the proposed construction of two new buildings on their site for dormitory and classroom use. The first building was ready for occupancy for 1995-96. Construction of the second building was delayed until increases in the student population. They are requesting another extension of their special use permit at this time for a period of two years.
Commissioner Gilbert said the Village is pleased and privileged to have the University in the Village; however, he has concerns about continually extending these permits. He questioned when these would be reviewed again. The circumstances in the neighborhood has changed over the past ten years and he believes some limit should be set on the extensions by the Council. He does not believe it is feasible to continually extend the permits. He can accept the present request, but would ask that this be studied again.
The Mayor said staff should look and see how many extensions there are being requested. Mr. Rathje said that there are very few. The Venture shopping center has gone on for an extremely long time. The University has installed all of their infrastructure including screening and the stormwater requirements. He said they have also reviewed another petition brought by the University for their Library and Biological Sciences additions. The Zoning Board of Appeals considered that petition in the context of potential construction of the other buildings.
Commissioner Gilbert said he understands that, but he believes that the Village needs to set a policy and limit any further extensions. Mr. Rathje said permits they can be made to go back for a review by the Zoning Board of Appeals for affirmation of the extension. Commissioner Gilbert said he thought the public input is the most important component in the review.
Commissioner Sisul asked if there’s a project on Finley that continues to get extensions. Mr. Rathje said that he might be referring to the Amli Planned Development, and three or four years ago the Planned Development was cancelled. If they decided to come back for a second building they will have to return and re-establish the Planned Development.
Commissioner Sisul said that perhaps they should go to the Plan Commission and ask for their recommendations or concerns regarding projects that go on for an especially long time. Mr. Rathje noted that some developments need 15-20 years to plan out, and they have to come in with each new phase. Commissioner Sisul said he thought Mr. Rathje would be closer to the situation and would know what projects would need continuances by the nature of the scope of the development, or the attitude of the community in that specific area.
The Manager said staff will follow up on this issue. The Midwestern University item will be placed on the Active Agenda for March 20.
ZBA Recommendation: YMCA – Special Use. Mr. Rathje said that the Zoning Board of Appeals has recommended approval for an amendment to the YMCA ’s special use for construction of a pavilion and a minor expansion of their parking lot. The parking area will allow for a drop off area for program participants. He said that the pavilion is about 3,000 square feet in size, with a small storage area and restrooms at one end. He described the proposed construction, saying that an extension of the capacity of the stormwater detention facility is necessary to accommodate this special use amendment. He noted that the YMCA is actually divided into two of the Village’s watersheds with one area draining into the Prentiss Creek watershed and one into the St. Joseph watershed. All development will take place on the St. Joseph’s Creek side of the property. Mr. Rathje said that the Zoning Board of Appeals’ recommendation was unanimous.
Commissioner Schnell said there were comments from residents about flooding to the south, and she asked whether the increase in the detention facility help with that flooding. Mr. Rathje said it would not. Commissioner Schnell asked whether staff has looked into the problems stated by the residents. The Manager said that they are not exactly sure what is causing the flooding problem but will continue to monitor it.
Mr. Rathje said that there has been an increase of water accumulation at the southwesterly portion of the property. In 1995 the Village ran a drainage line west from Fairmount north of 61st Street to the Lyman right-of-way which picked up a lot of the water. He said that there has been a historic flooding problem there.
Commissioner Schnell then asked about the potential noise generated from the pavilion and the public address system. He asked if the YMCA would be agreeable to an agreement verifying that they would not be using a public address system.
Judy Ellertson , Executive Director of the Indian Boundary YMCA , said that they do not use a public address system, except for occasional special events or games. Usually they use a megaphone for the camp programs.
Commissioner Schnell asked if they would notify the neighbors by means of a notice when they intend to use the public address system for any special events. Ms. Ellertson said that could be done, and in further response to Commissioner Schnell, she noted that the restrooms will be locked when not in use. She also indicated that the YMCA will work with the police department to monitor the area .
Commissioner Sisul said that parents have comments about the need for washrooms and he sees this as a good addition.
The Mayor asked if there will be an increase in programs and Ms. Ellertson said they will not increase the numbers for the day camp. The Mayor said that he had received comments from residents that the YMCA did not contact the residents about their plans. He encouraged them to maintain contact with the neighbors.
Scott Saef of Sidley & Austin, attorney for the YMCA , said that the YMCA has been awarded funding by the State of Illinois and has to meet certain time constraints. He asked if the Council could consider this issue on March 6. Village Attorney Blondin said he could present the Ordinance this evening and the Mayor said it would be placed on the March 6 Active Agenda.
Zoning Map Adoption. Mr. Rathje said there were only minor modifications made to the Zoning Map. He then reviewed those changes.
The Manager said this item would be placed on the March 20 Active Agenda.
Citizen Survey. The Manager said that results from the 2000 Citizens Survey would be published shortly via the Village’s website.
Assistant to the Manager, Mike Baker , then explained the information derived from the survey. He noted that the format was based on the 1998 survey with some minor adjustments. He said 4,000 surveys were mailed out randomly from water billing records, and included 57 individual items for resident consideration. A total of 1,536 surveys were returned by the cutoff date. He noted this was a high response rate, and the results reflect an improvement over 1998 of staff and Village services.
Mr. Baker said the survey also indicated a dramatic increase in the numbers of residents who own a personal computer and use it to access the Internet. The results are indicative of the residents’ interest in communicating electronically.
Manager McCurdy said the survey is the most important gauge for determining satisfaction with Village services. He was pleased with seeing the increase in the number of computers used and Internet access. Overall, he noted that 60.5% of the households responding had no children under the age of 18, and further noted that the largest number of respondents were over the age of 60.
The Mayor said 4,000 surveys were sent out, which is about 25% of the households. He said that 40% of the people surveyed received the survey last year and asked why that occurred.
Liangfu Wu , Director, Information Services, said that each year they sent the survey to 30% of the households in a random sampling. The Mayor said there is apparently a problem in that some people are not getting surveyed.
Commissioner Schnell said she has heard from some people that they never received a survey. She thought it might be beneficial to check the random sampling and determine whether it may be skewed in some way.
The Mayor recommended surveying half of the households each year based on odd and even addresses which would assure that everyone would get a survey every other year.
Commissioner Sisul also said that they might want to consider another approach using a telephone survey of some type. He is not sure that they are reaching the younger families.
Commissioner Schnell said that it appears that a certain part of the population completed the survey, and that includes older people with no children. Mr. Wu agreed that the trend is that older people do fill out the survey. Commissioner Schnell asked whether the survey could be done via computer with a means of logging-in on line, since so many residents have computers. The Manager said staff will look into that and other ideas as well.
Commissioner Sisul said that the staff has the right to be proud of the good ratings received, many of which have gone up significantly from previous years.
The Mayor noted comments made regarding leaf removal as one of the least-liked aspects of the Village. He said it is important to study the results and determine what services could be added. He further noted that traffic is always a top issue, and a parking deck downtown ranked as one of the top interests as well. He compared this year’s rankings to those of last year. Mayor Krajewski also said it would be good to review the condition of older sidewalks, and asked that the comments be passed on to the local newspaper.
Commissioner Schnell said she did not think people understand how they can get their sidewalk repaired, and she recommended putting it on Cable and the website.
Commissioner Gilbert observed that snow removal was liked the best as well as least liked. One of the things mentioned as least-liked was high taxes, and he noted that the Village is the second lowest in DuPage County. He said that 50% of the people in town do not even know that there is an Economic Development Office in the Village, and he sees this as a public relations problem. Commissioner Gilbert said that the survey showed a positive rating for the parkway trees, as well as better statistics for both the Village Clerk and Code Services. He commented that the survey shows that 80% of the residents responding have better than a bachelor’s degree. He believes it is good to keep this program going.
Commissioner McConnell said it is important to sit down with departments to review specific trends. Although there are many computers, she said not many people seem to be visiting the Village’s website. The multiple ways the Village is providing information is good and they have to continue to find ways to make residents aware of the various social services programs that are available.
Commissioner Sisul noted a substantial increase in the number of people at the top of the income bracket. Regarding redevelopment, comments made indicate that residents are happy with the downtown improvements, but not necessarily with the type of shops available. He said it is important that they realize that the improvements were the first stage of the redevelopment.
Mayor Krajewski asked that those surveys which will get a response be put into track wise system.
Marilynn Gerloff , 4241 Highland, said that senior citizens do not like to answer questions on the telephone, and she does not think younger families will respond to phone surveys either.
The Mayor said that Commissioner Gilbert recommended increasing the number of newsletters. Ms. Gerloff said she believes that one of the biggest problems in the Village is communication, and she is concerned about the local newspaper helping the communication issue.
Ordinance Establishing Fines for Open Burning. The Manager said the procedure for offenses regarding open burning is a standard arrest procedure by a police officer. He asked the Legal Department to review the potential for handling open burning as an administrative citation procedure which would downgrade the fine but would eliminate having the police officers responsible for this violation.
Commissioner Schnell said there is apparently a problem with contractors and open burning in demolitions. She suggested putting a leaflet in the permit information stating there would be a fine for open burning. The Commissioner also said that apparently some of the open burning is happening in devices sold by local retailers. People purchase these devices and assume that they are allowed to use these chimneys, not knowing they are illegal. She recommended that they revisit the definition of open burning.
Commissioner Sisul said he agrees that it is important to look at the definition of open burning. He thinks of it as an open brush pile and agrees that the Ordinance should be studied again.
Commissioner Schnell further stated that perhaps it will also be necessary to speak to the local retailers about the types of devices being sold. She believes a definition has to be established.
Commissioner McConnell said she thinks there is a misunderstanding about the ordinance. She believes some reminders should be distributed about the current Ordinance.
Commissioner Gilbert agreed that they revisit the definition of open burning in the future.
Attorney Blondin said basically the definition states that any kind of burning outside is considered open burning. He said there are two issues: where burning takes place, and what is burned. He will see what other communities have done in this regard as well.
The Manager said this issue will be placed on the March 20 Active Agenda.
Taxicab Licensing Requirements. Village Attorney Blondin said the current Ordinance prohibits licenses to certain individuals with criminal backgrounds; however, there is no way at this time to identify those individuals. The changes in licensing would provide for fingerprinting of the applicants at a $14.00 fee.
The Mayor said that recently at Peace Memorial’s 20th Anniversary celebration, some residents said that when the subsidy was increased, Courtesy Cab said they would not increase their fees; however the flag drop is now $1.75 versus $1.25 previously. He asked that staff look into this.
Manager McCurdy said this Ordinance will be on the March 20 Active Agenda.
Parking & Traffic Recommendation: Parking on Whiffen Place & Brookbank. The Manager said the Commissioner is recommending parking restrictions because of the narrow width of Whiffen Place, as well as the west side of Brookbank. This item will be placed on the March 20 Active Agenda.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Community Response Center: The Manager said they have received 40 calls already. The Mayor said that the majority of calls concerned flooding due to the recent rains.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Blondin reported on 13 items presented as noted in the Legal Department Correspondence dated February 26, 2001.
The Mayor said that on April 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. there will be a PTA Council at Downers Grove South High School. The Harlem Wizards will be playing against teachers and other public officials. He said he would be participating in this event. There are 2,500 tickets available for that event.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh/